Distribution of wealth and income is one in many trends that if not addressed will continue to produce the outcomes such as the one witnessed in Lagos and across Nigeria.

At the moment, the wealthy are getting wealthier, levels of inequality are at the highest we’ve ever seen.

Historically, these kinds of inequalities have triggered enormous political unrest, sometimes even leading to revolution in many countries and Nigeria can least afford that right now. It presents an enormous problem that will have its impact years later, even beyond Nigeria, extending to other African countries.

We need to balance “me and now” with “us and later.” And it’s always going to be very tough. But problems like systemic corruption, bloated cost of governance, religious divide, tribalism and inequality can make holding this balance much, much harder.

“Me and now” is basically the culture of spending most of the time focused on selfish interest and on the short term. For example, a politician using his office to acquire material wealth at the expense of investing in public goods such as education, electricity and good roads.

“Us and later” is the exact opposite. It’s thinking long term and a focus beyond immediate circle and more of inclusive arrangement. So, a politician focuses majorly on public goods that will impact his community, constituency or country at large. An educated workforce, a functioning, inclusive democracy are hallmarks of “us and later.” Certainly not “empowerment” gimmicks such as paltry sums of money for petty traders and the like.

If Nigeria is going to rise to its full potential and avoid anarchy, we’re going to need all the help we can get. The world has its own problems, so relying solely on the West isn’t a good option at all.

At the individual level, special groups level, corporate level, public sector level and even regional level, we can lay the foundation for progress. This means finding strategies and collaborators that can help solve the challenges that is inherent in these kinds of us/later problems at scale. 

Here’s how we can collectively begin to make this leap.


I saw a tweet the other day announcing that Mr. President was meeting with his predecessors. That in itself isn’t a bad thing. But if the major discussion was about the future of the country then there’s a lot that is wrong with this meeting. Situational leadership requires deliberately keeping an eye on the ground.

It’s about inspiring confidence in the country in the context of its current state. It’s about ensuring transparency, accountability and good governance. Being accountable to the citizens is part of good governance not a weakness.

It’s about encouraging speedy and informed decision-making. The president took 24 hours to respond to the chaos that shook the country. Situational leadership requires a speedy response, engaging and involving interest groups at all levels. In this case even the youth, or at least its real representatives.

Nigerians did not elect a leader to continue being an introvert; they elected a leader to set the direction, align people and then motivate them. This is the minimum requirements of such an office. And it’s up to the electorate to elect such a leader going forward across board. We need not focus on only the office of the number one citizen but down to even councillors at the grassroots level.


“This is how we do things around here; this is the way it has always been done.”

“Everyone else is doing it to you must be delusional if you think that things can be done.” differently.

“But we know that it can’t be done differently, because that won’t work financially, or it won’t work at all.”

Does this sound familiar? Never mind it’s been going on for years or it’s a herculean task to swim against the tide. The story can change. If the United States can do it, any country can. In the 1960’s, the United States was no bed of roses. Young people like we have had recently took to the streets to protest good governance. It was no walk in the park but through resilience and purpose, they got there.

In my last article, I asked what Mr. President had to lose if he led differently? Nothing. Nothing but a lasting legacy. Infrastructure building can’t build the type of legacy good institutional reforms and respect and empathy for human rights and citizens can.

What we are looking at is a major cultural shift not only in Lagos, but the whole country.

So the really big question is how do we actually go about changing a culture not only within where we live, but in the entire Country?


If we are not honest about the problems that we’re facing, the problems that we are experiencing, then we will never be able to deal with them. We can’t in the same breath be condemning police brutality and corruption and making excuses for people that loot and vandalize public property.

We the citizens play a part in the problem Nigeria faces today. Our unbridled appetite to push a story whether verified or fiction simply because it suits our narrative or bias has soared in the past few weeks. Approaching national issues with emotions and anger instead of addressing it from a logical perspective can’t bring the change we desire collectively as a nation.


Most public institutions are weak. Reforms are required across board. Some need new leadership while some, it’s just all about compliance. A new committed leadership desiring real change can frame a new mission and purpose. We need to get people to want to change. Get the individual to actually want to change.

And in order to do that, we needed to find a new path for the country. I do not think the current crop of leaders will get us there. A new coalition from diverse backgrounds but united on a purpose must emerge. Channelling anger or getting emotional when leaders actually reveal through their actions or words that they aren’t fit to lead is not a strategy. If only we can use that as a source of motivation.

Take learnings from your experience, engage in the electoral process, join political parties or form a formidable one. This new purpose must capture the very essence of what the citizenry really feels and what we really want to accomplish.

We cannot have good governance based on current culture of impunity and selfish interests.

Which makes it pertinent to drive the need for personal/individual change. What we have staring us in the face is beyond political party loyalty/affiliation, religious divide and ethnic sentiments.  We must not underestimate the effect of actually having a positive reason to change. Education, enlightenment is essential here. Where a sinister fellow is hoodwinking locals because they can’t speak or understand English, we must move swiftly to counter it.

A Nigeria that works, will work for all. It will be an inclusive one. Which means “open access” institutions that support the full participation of every citizen in both the political and economic life of the community. For example, inclusive economic institutions support the effective functioning of the free market, and inclusive political institutions enable the public to participate in the political process, monitor and hold accountable the government.


For example, if it’s a crime, it remains a crime even when that someone is a relative, in your social class, ethnic group or political party. A lady (won’t mention her name) was very active during the #endsars protests happening at Lekki. The moment it was made public that her mum, a police officer was allegedly involved in extra judicial killing of a student, she disappeared and that was the last we heard or saw about her participation in the protests. That is not authentic but hypocritical.


Work privately with even so called “competition” in the attempt to produce change while all the reforms for good governance and accountability are being worked on. This will include like-minded people coming together in clusters, building a community and then finally merging with others to form a coalition. Politics is about the numbers.

When you can build significant numbers and establish a base, people will listen to you. Even the politicians that have disregarded you for years. This will require compromise from parties with different agendas and ideologies. I can’t emphasize this enough.


The office of the Citizen has been awoken. And it can’t afford to go back to sleep. Citizens must call out and speak collectively against irregularities, waste, corruption, failed leadership, injustice amongst others. Once people in elected positions are aware that the citizenry will hold them accountable, they will go about their duties in a more accountable manner. Same applies to rogue officials of public institutions.

For example, we should not just drive along when we see suspicious operations from a police officer. We should question them and blow the whistle, do a video. Everyone should start holding each other accountable.  This is also encouraged for citizens that decide to loot, wreak havoc and destroy property.

They must not be encouraged under the guise of hunger in the land or bad governance. What we must do is show up in our numbers and vote out any leader or party incapable of implementing desired change.


With access to social media comes a huge responsibility. After verifying information, it should be shared particularly via the media that has got a track record of unbiased professionalism. I think Arise TV has been tremendous during this period. I will not hesitate to share verified news with them.


Spread the word as far as you can. The world is a global village. Tell them what is going on. But remember, it’s all about the truth. Police brutality is the truth. It’s happening. What we must stop doing is spread fake news because it suits a narrative you want to believe.


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